About Kurt J. Kolka
Kurt J. Kolka grew up in rural Grayling, Mich., just two blocks from the beautiful AuSable River. Grayling is a small community where people live who love the outdoors. Many are canoe paddlers or kayakers, hikers, wood crafters, fishermen, and/or hunters. If it is about nature, the residents and most visitors love it.
Kurt has loved writing and art since he was very young. He wrote his first "novel" in sixth grade and passed it around the class. He studied mostly literature, writing/journalism, and art in high school. At Concordia University in Ann Arbor, Mich., he continued down the same path, earning an A.A. degree. Later at Anderson University in Anderson, Ind. he received his B.A. in English.
Since then, Kurt has spent his life in various aspects of the journalism and newspaper fields, doing everything from writing/photography to PhotoShop work to editing and layout. Over the years, he has written articles for the Gaylord Herald Times, Northern Star, Weekly Choice, UpNorth Voice, Crawford County Avalanche, Traverse City Record-Eagle, and One Christian Voice.
During his 30 years in various aspects of the newspaper business, he has written and photographed local news and events, feature stories, a series of stories on bullying, sports, columns, religion news, and created cartoons.
In 2014, Kurt became a freelance writer for various publications and published his first book, "Bullying is No Laughing Matter" (Front Edge Publishing, LLC, Ann Arbor, Mich.). He has also given presentations on bullying to schools, churches, and various organizations since its publication. His knowledge on the subject has come from not only experts in the field, but his own personal experience of being bullied for about 10 years in public school.
As a Christian, Kurt has also been involved in various types of ministry. He has written and illustrated an ongoing comic strip since 1990. He created "The Cardinal" comic for a local shopping guide and two years later it came out in its own annual publication, "Cardinal Adventures," which was given away for free at gas stations, restaurants, pharmacies, supermarkets, and bookstores in 12 Michigan counties from 1992 to 2006. After that, it became a webcomic for readers. the Cardinal's adventures can still be read online at www.thecardinal.org.
Kurt believes his creative abilities come from God and are part of his calling to serve God and others. While he writes a wide variety of stories, he does so with a heart for God. He especially enjoys writing features on those who have experienced God and devotionals which encourage people to spend time with their Savior and grow closer to Him.
In 2020, Kurt began working toward creating his own non-profit, Between The Pines Ministries. It brings together the various ways Kurt reaches out to others.
About the Ministry
Between The Pines Ministries brings together Kurt's talents to help reach and encourage others in the cause of Christ.
The ministry includes outreach to those who have been bullied: ministerial counseling, speaking engagements, conferences and printed literature. Another aspect of the ministry is encouragement for believers through his writings and comics. And finally, his novel, "Afraid We Are Not," is Kurt's way of reaching out to survivors of bullying and those who care about them. Through copies of the book, he can help those who he is unable to meet with personally.
Between The Pines is a sub-ministry of Grayling Baptist Church, 705 Madsen St., Grayling, MI 49738.